Bentley working on electric Continental GT3

Bentley has built an electric version of its Continental GT3 racer as part of an evaluation of the FIA's new Electric GT Championship set to go live in 2023.

Bentley working on electric Continental GT3

Autosport has learned that Ray Mallock Limited is working on a Continental development car for Bentley built to the eGT regulations, which were released to interested parties by the FIA as early as last December.

The Bentley test car exploits a route into eGT allowing a manufacturer to take an existing GT3 contender and fit it with electric motors and a battery.

Bentley has confirmed the existence of the car, but stressed that no decision has been made on entering a championship that is set to begin in 2023 with a short series of races.

"It would be stupid if we hadn't done something like that," Bentley motorsport boss Paul Williams told Autosport when asked about the development car. 

"We are part of the eGT working group, and we've done some desktop studies and some stuff in real-world hardware."

Asked if the car had run on track, Williams replied: "I wouldn't possibly be able to say."

It is known that the test car is based on the first-generation Continental GT3, which began racing in 2013 and was replaced by the second iteration of the car for 2018.

RML is a logical partner given its electric-vehicle experience: it developed the Nissan ZEOD RC hybrid that raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the 'Garage 56' slot in 2014 and also the EP9 sportscar for Chinese manufacturer NIO that briefly held the EV record on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife.

 

Williams suggested that eGT does not "tick all the boxes" for a manufacturer that has laid down a vision to build only electric road cars cars by 2030 under its Beyond 100 strategy.

Bentley has insisted it will return to motorsport after starting a wind-down of the Continental GT3 programme last year, but stated that a decision on its future direction is not imminent.

"Everything we are looking at has certain compromises, disadvantages as well as advantages," he explained.

"Endurance racing is our heritage: that's what we love and what appeals to us as a brand."

Races lasting approximately 45 minutes with a mandatory pitstop to top up the charge of the battery are envisaged for the eGT series, which was formally announced in May.

Williams stated that this duration doesn't satisfy the endurance racing criterion for a manufacturer that has won Le Mans six times, most recently in 2003 with the Speed 8 GTP prototype.

"If there was a fully electric endurance option that is where we would probably be," he said.

"We are not overly convinced by any option right now to make us dive into a programme tomorrow."

Bentley is still casting its net wide while plotting its next step in motorsport, according to Williams.

He has explained that the LMDh prototype class is "not completely off the table, but not a key consideration" and described the alternative Le Mans Hypercar route back to Le Mans as "always an option".

shares
comments

Related video

Aitken targets Williams F1 sim return and GT comeback next month

Previous article

Aitken targets Williams F1 sim return and GT comeback next month

Next article

Macau F3 and GT World Cup races cancelled again

Macau F3 and GT World Cup races cancelled again
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021